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2016 Dodge Charger V-6 8-speed Automatic

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 7/25/2016 TONY SWAN
2016 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop

They say it’s good to be bad, but sometimes it’s good enough to merely look bad. This version of the Dodge Charger we recently tested is an excellent case in point. At a glance it could easily be taken for an R/T or even a Hellcat, with black 20-inch wheels wearing low-profile Goodyear Eagle tires, a decklid spoiler, and black accents and badges inside and out. It looks deliciously menacing: low, muscular, and mean. The key word, though, is “looks.” Renewed for 2016, the Blacktop edition is an appearance package—visual muscle, if you like—and it’s something of a bargain at $995.

Appearance Amplified

The look implies muscle, but what you see is not exactly what you get. The SXT sits at the entry end of the Charger lineup, propelled by Chrysler’s excellent 3.6-liter V-6 and the equally excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. However, this powertrain excellence is mitigated by vehicle mass—two-plus tons.

In this example, with the optional Rallye Group ($1695), the V-6 is rated at 300 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque, a little more than the standard SXT version’s 292 hp and 260 lb-ft. The net result is 6.2 seconds to 60 mph and 14.7 seconds through the quarter-mile, hitting 96 mph. That’s quick enough to ward off drowsiness, and the driver won’t have to worry about watching the rear bumpers of Toyota Avalons and Hyundai Azeras pulling away when the light turns green. But it’s a long way from the numbers achievable with a 370-hp Hemi V-8 (5.1 seconds to 60 mph) or the brazen 707-hp Hellcat (3.4 seconds).

However, there’s more to this particular SXT than just the bad-boy cosmetics. With optional Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar summer tires (size 245/45R-20) and sport suspension tuning, this big car has surprising agility, accurate electrically assisted power steering, and respectable grip of 0.86 g.

2016 Dodge Charger V-6 8-speed Automatic© TONY SWAN 2016 Dodge Charger V-6 8-speed Automatic

Braking performance is about what you’d expect of a two-ton sedan—173 feet from 70 mph, albeit fade free. Understeer ramps up rapidly, and there’s a sense of large masses moving up and down at the corners of the car (those sizable wheels).

On the other hand, ride quality is reasonably compliant considering the level of roll stiffness in the sport suspension, the paddle shifters respond promptly, and the eight-speed is fluid in full auto mode. This is a big sedan, with a roomy, adult-friendly back seat—we also had no trouble fitting both a forward-facing and a backward-facing child seat—and its trunk is generous, even if it’s only about average for the segment.

The Good, the Bad, and the Value

Besides the Rallye Group, other extras on our test car included the Plus Group (heated and ventilated power front seats, leather, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and HID projector-beam headlights, $2495) and navigation ($795). But even at $37,360 as tested, this Charger is a lot of car for the money. If looking bad is good enough, look no further.

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $37,360 (base price: $30,990)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection

Displacement: 220 cu in, 3604 cc

Power: 300 hp @ 6350 rpm

Torque: 264 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 120.2 in

Length: 198.4 in

Width: 75.0 in Height: 58.2 in

Passenger volume: 105 cu ft

Cargo volume: 17 cu ft

Curb weight: 4096 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 6.2 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 15.8 sec

Zero to 130 mph: 33.9 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.5 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.3 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 14.7 sec @ 96 mph

Top speed (C/D est): 140 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 172 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.86 g

FUEL ECONOMY:

EPA city/highway driving: 19/31 mpg

C/D observed: 21 mpg

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